Human factors in signalling

We provide a range of human factors support across the signalling and train control environment, from the design of control rooms and configuration of driver cabs to the intuitive display of Visual Display Units (VDUs).

Our extensive experience of both mainline and metro systems in Europe, Asia and Australasia gives us a global understanding of the human factors requirements associated with all signalling technologies, from lever frame boxes and NX panels to VDU-based signalling control and ERTMS/CTBC systems.

Our key clients in signalling include Siemens, (Invensys), Translink, Irish Rail, Network Rail, TfL, RSSB, London Underground, Bombardier, Delta Rail.

Examples of where we can support the design and assurance of systems include:

Signalling control systems

With rich experience of Human Machine Interface (HMI) design principles, international standards/guidelines and end-user engagement, we are equipped to support the design and review of both UK-based and international signalling interfaces.

We have provided human factors support to all aspects of signalling system design and review processes, including human factors integration, end-user requirements, prototyping and HMI guidance, usability reviews, alert system design, workload and error assessments, training and human factors assurance.

Driver performance

We have undertaken a range of empirical research studies to gather information on driver performance during signal and sign reading tasks. The data from this work have been applied to the development of guidance documents used in support of signal and signage design and have led to the development of a cognitive model of driver behaviour.

We have also assisted major train operators in defining behavioural indicators used in driver training and competency assessment.

Driver cab layouts

Failure to consider human factors in cab design can lead to interior layouts that do not fit the physical, psychological or sociological needs of train drivers.

A driver’s cab is equipped with a number of systems that interface with the network infrastructure throughout the route. Though introduced for a variety of safety and operational reasons, these systems also place demands on the driver’s attention.

We provide research-based advice for taking into account the human factors issues between the driver, the systems they are expected to use, and the limited space available within the cab itself.

Our inputs have included focused task analyses to ensure safe and efficient operation of the vehicle in all circumstances. For example, we undertake drawing-based assessment work, followed by user assessments on full-scale mock-ups, to identify the opttimum placement of the displays and controls of the VDU interfaces. 

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